Penwortham woman creates lasting floral tribute to her mum - by naming her new business after her

A grieving daughter has discovered a new passion since the death of her mum in lockdown - and has dedicated her new business to her memory.

By Catherine Musgrove
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th May 2022, 2:35 pm

Jackie Ward from Penwortham lost her mum Margaret Mathews aged 68 to pneumonia in September 2020 - while the country was plunged into strict coronavirus restrictions.

Jackie had spent the previous seven months caring for her mum, who had a range of health problems, after taking time out from her job as a quantity surveyor just as the pandemic hit.

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Jackie with one of her floral creations

While coming to terms with her loss, Jackie found herself paying special attention to the flowers on her mum's grave in Hill Road Cemetery in Penwortham, which has lead to a whole new chapter in her life.

"Mum was always so grateful to have flowers", said the 43-year-old. "So I've always made sure that those on her grave are nice - it's the last thing I can do for her.

"I used to go to Aldi and spend £40 and make it look really good. It was kind of like my therapy, really - I found solace in making up her flowers and I found out that I was good at it."

Enjoying her new-found interest, Jackie signed up for a week-long floristry course in January 2021, and the following May set up her own small business called Little Stems Inspired by Margaret, which is run from the potting shed in her Penwortham home.

Jackie's much missed mum, Margaret Mathews.

She now creates bespoke orders for special occasions and runs a pop-up shop at the Coach House in Hurst Grange Park, Penwortham - all alongside returning to work as a quantity surveyor.

Jackie said: "I really enjoy it and I have a good balance between running the business and doing my job. I work from home, so I'm able to work with the flowers on my lunch break or after work in the evenings."

She has built up a regular client base and as well as one-off items, also offers monthly subscriptions. She also has her first weddings booking for December.

While some occasions such as Mother’s Day are hard for Jackie, she finds joy in making personal items for customers, and a renewed feeling of closeness to her mum.

Jackie's business is proudly named after her mum

When Jackie was a teenager, she used to work with her mum at the Thompson's fruit and veg shop in St George's Centre in Preston.

Margaret worked for the business for 25 years until she became unwell with TIAs (transient ischaemic attacks also known as “mini strokes”).

"Flowers have been a bright spark and focus for me", said Jackie.

"And it sounds strange, but I have found that I speak to mum while I'm doing it. Losing her left a massive void, but when I'm in the potting shed, I put some Abba on and it's like she's here with me."

It’s also really nice to met lots of new people through the business, including everyone at the wholesalers who have become friends.”

Jackie’s next pop-up in Hurst Grange Park is scheduled for June.

For more information on Jackie’s work click here